Maria Sharapova: What she said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Maria Sharapova’s beauty is skin-deep.

What she said:

“People always ask me about my beauty routine, but I think that beauty always comes in the way that you take care of your skin—not in the makeup you put on your face.”

Maria Sharapova talks shop, food, drink and beauty with Yahoo! Beauty.

What she really meant:

“Skin-care and exercise—that’s my big secret. But don’t tell anyone especially all the companies chasing me for celebrity endorsements.”

What she definitely didn’t:

“I guess I’ll be chucking my Avon deal soon enough—now that you know.”

Maria Sharapove
Maria Sharapove (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Sania Mirza: What she said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Sania Mirza is candidly unsporting.

What she said:

“We’re not a sporting nation, we’re a cricketing nation. We need to accept that and stop pretending to be a sporting nation.”

Sania Mirza hopes that the International Premier Tennis League inspires more people to follow tennis and take up the sport.

Mirza said:

“Leagues are becoming like a cult now. It popularises the sport. Look at what it did for kabaddi. The IPTL is going to do the same for tennis. We have some of the greatest players in the world coming and playing in the country. It’s going to be huge. To me, it’s the awareness that’s going to matter. We’re not a sporting nation, we’re a cricketing nation. We need to accept that and stop pretending to be a sporting nation. Why don’t we produce sporting stars? Well, because there’s no awareness. There’s no help. People don’t believe they can be a professional athlete, they think they can only be a cricketer. I think leagues like this help to motivate and inspire people to take up the sport. A lay man will get a chance to see Roger Federer playing live. How can you not be inspired after seeing his class?”

Mirza described her recent meeting with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mirza said:

“I did meet him alone though, but we spoke about my sister. He remembered my sister, which was pretty amazing. I still can’t believe it. She was a pistol shooter and he was the CM of Gujarat. He met her at some event. I had no clue that he even met her. It was amazing. Anyway, at the meeting he just asked me if I was happy and if I needed assistance for anything. It’s pretty amazing for a PM because he’s trying to help and trying to change things in the country. He is motivating.”

On not playing singles any more:

“Yeah, I do miss playing singles. But I do know that it was the right decision to concentrate on doubles. You can’t fight nature. If your body is screaming every morning, you can’t be stubborn and say you are going to keep on playing and kill the body. I want to be able to walk when I’m 40. I don’t want to be in pain all the time. And it’s actually very upsetting because you wake up in the morning and you’re not able to work as much as you want to. I have a certain joint condition. I’ve had three surgeries. So yeah, at that moment it was the toughest call. I was still top-100 in the world, so it was not easy. I do miss it. But look at the bigger picture. If I was still playing singles I wouldn’t still be playing tennis any more. I’d probably be injured. It wasn’t about ‘if getting injured’, it was the question of ‘when’.”

 What she really meant:

“To repeat a cliche (ad nauseam) ‘Cricket is a religion for us Indians and cricketers our gods. Other sporting heroes are minor deities to be recalled only on festive days (days when we actually win something)’. Every young boy wants to be a cricketer and will not even consider playing another sport.”

What she definitely didn’t:

“I should have this statement emblazoned on my tee. Wouldn’t that be cool?”


Viren Rasquinha: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Viren Rasquinha unveils his plan for stakeholder management.

What he said:

“I feel when there are such problems, all the stakeholders – be it Hockey India, Terry Walsh, sports ministry, SAI – you have to lock them up in a room, let them sit across the table and trash out all these issues.”

Former India hockey skipper and COO of Olympic Gold Quest, Viren Rasquinha, is hopeful that AussieTerry Walsh will return to coach the Indian side. Walsh resigned his post after his demands for a greater say in team decisions and the ability to pick his own support staff were turned down by Hockey India (HI) and Sports Authority of India (SAI).

The Indian hockey team has turned in stellar performances under Walsh’s guidance in the past year. The highlights are a Commonwealth Games silver, an Asiad gold ensuring direct qualification for Rio 2016 and a 3-1 series victory over Australia Down Under.

Rasquinha said:

“I am hopeful that he comes back. If you look at the overall results, he has done a wonderful job. The players are playing much better hockey. Leave aside the results, but in terms of the quality of hockey, their play has been very good.”

He added:

“It’s just so sad. I’m tired of speaking about it. I feel when there are such problems, all the stakeholders – be it Hockey India, Terry Walsh, sports ministry, SAI – you have to lock them up in a room, let them sit across the table and trash out all these issues. We should finally see everything for the good of Indian hockey. Good things are happening in Indian hockey for the last eight months and we should try our best to make sure that it continues.”

What Rasquinha really meant:

“And if they can’t resolve them, we should just throw away the key to the room.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“And while they’re at it, can we have some tea, coffee and snacks for the gentlemen? Terry Walsh can video-conference in, if he feels like it.”

Lukas Podolski: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Lukas Podolski would rather be substituted than be a substitute.

What he said:

“I am happy at Arsenal and happy in London but the only thing is I don’t play. I don’t get the chance to play. I play always 10 to 15 minutes. I cannot be happy with this.”

German striker and Arsenal forward Lukas Podoloski is hardly happy with Arsene Wenger for keeping him warming the bench in the Premier League. Podolski has barely played 46 minutes in four games this season. In Euro games, he has a total of 26 minutes in three matches. (That’s less than 90 minutes—the length of any football tie.)

Podolski said:

“I never say that I am unhappy with the club or with the players or with the city but I want to play.I think when I am ready and 100% I could play in the first XI. It is the decision from the coach, it is not my decision. Every player wants to play, every player wants to play in the middle, every players wants to score goals. But it is Arsène Wenger’s decision. He picks the first XI and he picks the tactics. When you ask players they say: ‘I want to play up front [or] as a No10,’ but the decision is his. I cannot change the style or tactics of the team.

I don’t say that I want to leave or that I leave in winter. I just think about my situation and my situation is unhappy. It is like anyone who is not getting a chance at doing their job. I know that only 11 can play but when you always play 10 or 15 minutes and it happens every week then you cannot be happy. I am happy with the team and the coach and the club but I don’t play. That is the only thing.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and in the backg...
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and in the background, Arsenal first team coach Boro Primorac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alexis Sanchex, the Chilean forward, has been doing extremely well for the Gunners and it does not appear that the German will have his chance any time soon.

Podolski said:

“The Premier League is good for him (Sanchez). He is a physical player. He is fast and powerful and the Premier League suits him. He is battling in every game and running a lot and he is making the difference at the moment at Arsenal.”

On Arsenal’s chances of winning the English league:

“In the Premier League you have a tough game every week. It’s not like other leagues where you only have three top games in a season. You can always speak about problems but the season is not finished. The Premier League is the best league in the world. It is not like in Spain where you have two teams or in Germany where you have [only] Bayern Munich. You see it every week, that every game is tough. Home and away every team is hard to play. You can never say that the three points are easy to get.

There is always pressure when you are at a big club and you are not in the top four. So we have to start winning games and start picking up points. We lost our last game and it’s a big match against Manchester United [this weekend] so we have to win it and then we have a big game against Dortmund straight after that. [Mesut] Özil can’t help us now because he is injured. When he comes back he can help us because he is a great player. We have start winning games now.”

What he really meant:

“Am I playing or not, coach Arsene? Can I play, coachie? I need match play to keep me match-fit and in contention for the German side. Can I get a transfer or be loaned out, perhaps? There’s no maybe, maybe not. It has to be definite. I want to play. Period. I’m a professional.”

What he definitely didn’t:

 “I’m happy where I am. It does not matter whether I am played or not. I’ll enjoy London and its surroundings. I could just play foosball, pool or craps instead as long as I’m paid.”

Ravi Shastri: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Ravi Shastri sanctifies the dressing room and makes it a holy shrine.

What he said:

“For me, sitting in the dressing room is all about pride. This room is like a mosque, temple, gurdwara, church, you name it. It’s a sacred place.”

The Indian team director, Ravi Shastri, is quite clear that the team dressing room should be off-limits.

He added:

“When you’re playing for your country, there are just 14 or 15 players there and you should know what that means. I’m a big one for understanding and preserving the sanctity of the dressing room. When I enter it, my hair stands on end. The day I finished playing cricket I never went into the dressing room. That’s why I also believe no one – barring the players – should be allowed in unless he has a good reason to be there.”

What he really meant:

“No sneaking girl-friends or bookies into the dressing room either, chum. “

What he definitely didn’t:

 “All this came to me after meditating heavily.Where else, but in the dressing room!”

Narendra Modi: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Narendra Modi is not averse to ‘Cricket Diplomacy’.

What he said:

“We celebrate the legend of Bradman and the class of Tendulkar together.

We are impressed by Australian speed as you are charmed by the Indian spin Until of course Shane Warne came along!”

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was all charm and humour in his address to the Australian parliament injecting references to three great cricketers, two Aussies and one Indian. He is the first Indian premier to visit the continent in 28 years.

What he really meant:

“Yeah, that’s what India-Australia relations have been all about for so many years. Cricket, cricket and more cricket. “

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’m sorry I left out all the Indian students Down Under. Some other time, perhaps. Can’t I label them ‘Made in India’ too?”



Dale Steyn: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Dale Steyn would rather not play craps in the car park.

What he said:

“It’s got nothing to do about I’ll see you in the car park and we’ll beat the crap out of each other.”

Dale Steyn has not forgotten his war of words with the Australian skipper Michael Clark during the Newlands test in March this year.

In Zimbabwe later this year, Steyn said:

“I haven’t really spoken to him [Clarke] much since then to be honest. I don’t take many things personally, but what he did say to me I did take personally. I know he apologised in the media and I should be playing this down.

But the day he comes and shakes my hand and says, ‘I really mean what I said,’ and behaves like the way he should, maybe then I will (forgive him). But for right now, he’s not here so I’ll wait until I get to Australia.”

Steyn is still upset with Clark for what he considers a personal sledge.

The South African pacer said:

“I don’t think I can mention it over the air now”.

He added:

“[That's] why I said if I see him we’ll have a normal chat between the two of us. It’s got nothing to do about I’ll see you in the car park and we’ll beat the crap out of each other. It’s got nothing to do with that man, maybe I just said too much in Zimbabwe.

The issue got blown out completely, it was like two schoolgirls the way the media got hold of it. I felt like Clarkey had his opportunity to say something at the end of the Cape Town Test and obviously I wasn’t in the press conference there and the next opportunity I got was a couple of months later in Zimbabwe so I said what I felt.

It wouldn’t have been fair if I’d said something straight after, I would have been called a sore loser after losing the series or the match so I just kept my mouth closed until it was my turn to say something. I didn’t want it to start a massive thing. It did, doesn’t matter. He’s not playing now. He’s obviously injured. Hopefully he gets well, he’s a great player and I think there’s enough respect from both of us, we’ve played against each other for long enough now and it’s just kind of got blown out of the water. It’s a bit silly really in all honesty.”

On the Aussies’ aggressive on-field appproach:

“Aussies are that kind of side they’re always in your face.I think of all the sides that play Test cricket in the world, the Aussies are always well known for being in your face kind of cricketers, kind of bullying teams and stuff like that. I don’t play my cricket like that personally.

I may look like that when I’m on the field and everything like that but I am a fast bowler, that’s just what you’ve got to do at the end of the day. I don’t quite agree with the way some of the things are done I think there’s a line. And I try to stay close to that line but never over-stepping it and if I do over-step it, I’ll be the first guy to put my hand up and say I’m sorry and go and do whatever I can to fix that.

Australia have always been that kind of side, so it doesn’t surprise me when they come hard or when somebody you’ve been a team-mate with before doesn’t greet you at breakfast, that’s just the way it is.”


A cricket shot from Privatemusings, taken at t...
A cricket shot from Privatemusings, taken at the third day of the SCG Test between Australia and South Africa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What Steyn really meant:

“It’s a gentleman’s game, chaps, and I’m a sensitive guy. I can carry a chip on my shoulder for, let’s say how long it’s been now? Eight months?”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’d rather bowl to him in the car park when he’s without his protective gear. That’s what car parks are good for—ambush territory.”

Robert Green: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Robert Green is not your mate.

What he said:

“People see you in the street, especially fans of your club, and because you’re on the pitch and they see you every week, they think you’re their mate. To me it is a stranger in the street. I’ve been playing football for 18 years and it still surprises me when people come and speak to me. My mates have said I’ll come across as rude and arrogant. It’s not like that. But it’s that initial: ‘Oh, Christ, what do you want me to say?’”

Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Robert Green is quite certain that television and fame may make you everybody’s bosom pal but it does not make them yours.

Green is not quite keen on becoming a coach-manager and would prefer to play ball in the boardroom instead.

Green said:

“Eventually I’d like to have some sort of role like a chief executive in a football club.”

Green is pursuing a BA (Hons) in business management (sports and football) from the Open University.

Green added:

“The speed of how football changes is so fast that to finish playing and still to be able to relate to 18-, 19-, 20-year-old lads, enough for them to like you, to run around for you, is probably beyond my limitations as a person. I think if I want to stay in football then this would be the path that I need to take rather than the coaching side.”

On his first course workshop:

“I sat down at the workshop with the tutor and six or seven other lads who are all football fans and I thought: ‘Hold on a minute, I’ve got half a chance here because I know the outside view is so different to what is going on on the inside.’

I think to be a fan and take over a football club would be great but you’re going to lose your money and you’re going to have a rollercoaster of a ride doing it. So to have someone [working for you] who’s been in that rollercoaster all their life and realises how good clubs operate …

A great model for me is West Brom. When I first started playing at Norwich, West Brom were in the Championship, got promoted, got relegated, got promoted, got relegated, and all the time they were building until they eventually stayed up. The dangerous point is when you try and make those steps like Leeds did by buying all those players in the late 90s and early 2000s, living beyond their means, and that’s when the problems occur.”

Green takes his goalkeeping seriously but does not bring work home.

Green said:

“I think it’s a self-preservation thing more than anything. I think as a youngster I took myself far too seriously. Now, with experience maybe, having good times, bad times, you think: ’Are you prepared physically and mentally for a game? Yes. Have I done everything I can this week to make myself as good as I can be for this game? Yes. Am I going to try my utmost in this game? Yes.’ Right, that’s all you can do. Could I stop Oscar’s shot in the game at Stamford Bridge? No, because I’d need a four metre extension on my arm.’ It’s managing your own expectations.

If you walked into my house there wouldn’t be one thing to do with football in there. You see people with a room full of their career achievements. Brilliant. Well done. That’s just not something I do. They’re in a bin bag in my mum and dad’s loft. And if I go out, I’ve got the same mates from the Sunday football team when I was a kid. That doesn’t change. They probably hammer me as much as anybody, saying: ‘He’s an oddball.’”

On the infamous lapse that handed the US a 1-1 draw in the 2010 World Cup, how he handles opposition fans and whether his career will be forever defined by that moment:

“I just turn around and give them (hecklers) a yawn sign. It’s something that happened two tournaments ago. We drew the game. We didn’t lose the opening game of the World Cup.

If that happens, fair enough. You can’t argue with apathy. People can say what they want, do what they want, realistically it’s not something that’s going to affect my life.

I actually think it’s going to be good for my children. They are going to ask me one day about it, because some kid is going to Google it and hammer them at school. So it’s a great lesson that you can put everything you can into something for all your life and it’s not always beautiful at the end of it.”

What Green really meant:

“Hey man, it’s called information asymmetry. You know all about me but I know nothing about you. Would you like a stranger chatting you up, in a familiar manner? Would ya, really? Sure, it’s a hazard of fame but don’t let it go to your head.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’m the friendliest bloke around. Let’s have a pint of lager anytime.”

Garry Kasparov: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Garry Kasparov questions Anand’s predatory instincts.

English: Viswanathan Anand, world chess champion
English: Viswanathan Anand, world chess champion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What he said:

Lëtzebuergesch: De Garri Kasparow géint de Com...
Lëtzebuergesch: De Garri Kasparow géint de Computerprogramm Deep Junior am Januar 2003. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

13th World Chess Champion and Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation Garry Kasparov believes that World Championship contender and former champion Viswanathan Anand is not the same opponent he defeated years ago to retain his crown.

What he really meant:

“Anand is not the Lightning Kid anymore. Not when it comes to playing Magnus Carlsen. He still has bite but has to play the waiting game, hoping his opponent takes the bait and is ensnared.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Tiger Tiger burning bright,
On  the chess boards of Sochi:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

(With apologies to William Blake).”


Stuart Clark: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Stuart Clark cares for Test cricket.

What he said:

“The Test series is big but at the end of the day if they do well in the World Cup no one will care about the Test series over there.”

Stuart Clark articulates what every dyed-in-the-wool Indian cricket fan openly admits—that recency and ODI wins count more than any overseas Test results.

The former Australian pacer said:

“I’d suggest India are very, very concerned about the World Cup.That’s a big thing in their cricket calendar, one-day cricket and the World Cup.”

On India’s performance after the first two Tests in England:

“But as soon as they moved to a wicket that did a little bit the white flags went up.”

Clark does not believe that Indian spinners will make a huge difference in the series against Australia Down Under.

He said:

“If India are going to come out and bowl spinners at us I think we’ll come out and smash them everywhere. They’re going to Brisbane first. Other than Shane Warne, no spinner has ever really done a lot there and been overly successful. In Adelaide they’ll be OK, but Sydney the last couple of years has been quite pace-friendly – it’s been carrying through and seamed around everywhere.

They’ll play Ashwin – he’s a good bowler in Indian conditions but I can’t see him being overly successful here.”

What Clark really meant:

 “India are the ODI world champions after all. And their fans will not accept anything less than a stellar performance at the World Cup. The Test series? The guys were whitewashed 4-0 the last time around. Can they fare worse? Anything less would be a major improvement.”

What he definitely didn’t:

” But it’d be so nice to thoroughly demoralise the Indian batsmen going into the World Cup. Nothing like another whitewash to do the job.”